Adventure Rider In Training

We signed the lease. We got the keys to our new shop the day before Thanksgiving.

The plan was to spend the holiday weekend cleaning and getting ready to open.

On Thanksgiving day, we scrubbed the floors. On our way home, my truck fried a water pump. Luckily, we were at the end of our street, and I was able to limp it in before it overheated.

I want to adventure ride. I want to go to exotic places. I want to see the far flung corners of the world. In order to do so, I have to be able to accept the kindness and help of others, and be ready to take care of most situations on your own. My extended adventure to remove and replace the water pump on my truck has given me the opportunity to test my capabilities as a mechanic.

I’ve been watching Ewan and Charley find their way around the globe in Long Way Round; a documentary and reality TV rolled up into one incredible twenty thousand mile trek from London to New York on two wheels.

In order to go out into remote places, you have to have a plan for what to do when things go wrong. In adventure riding, every turn in the road or rut in the trail may be the one that tosses you off your motorcycle. It’s not practical to carry every tool or spare part that you may need.
Ewan and Charley had a cameraman as a third rider with them, and a few support trucks meeting them at critical points in the journey. They found that the extremely rough conditions that they encountered in Mongolia and Russia left their BMW’s battered and broken. Carrying the load across terrain that looked like the dark side of the moon would take its toll on any machine. Faced with backtracking to a remote town to have one of the the frame of one of the motorcycles repaired, the riders chose to leave a good portion of the gear they had originally taken with them in a pile in the hotel room.

Even as I was frustrated about my chaotic tool hoard, or broken bolts, or insufficient light, or wrong parts from the store, I was at home. I had my garage, and all my tools, and parts stores right down the street. I had to remind myself that the experience I was gaining was about something yet to come. Maybe I’m getting ready for a breakdown on a remote jungle trail in Central America, or a Canadian mountain pass. It’s hard to say until it happens. When it does, I think I’ll be ready.